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Eur J Pain. 2005 Oct;9(5):543-54. Epub 2004 Dec 18.

Oxcarbazepine in painful diabetic neuropathy: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.


In this multicentre, placebo-controlled, 16-week trial, the efficacy and safety of oxcarbazepine monotherapy in patients with neuropathic pain of diabetic origin was evaluated. Eligible patients had a 6-month to 5-year history of neuropathic pain symptoms of diabetic origin and a pain rating of > or =50 units on the visual analogue scale (VAS). Oxcarbazepine was initiated at a dose of 300 mg/day and titrated to a maximum dose of 1800 mg/day. In total, 146 patients (oxcarbazepine, n=69; placebo, n=77) were randomized. After 16 weeks, oxcarbazepine-treated patients experienced a significantly larger decrease in the average change in VAS score from baseline compared with placebo (-24.3 vs. -14.7 units, respectively; p=0.01). The reduction from baseline in mean VAS score for oxcarbazepine-treated patients was of a greater magnitude than placebo as early as week 2 (-8.0 vs. -4.7; p<0.05). A significantly greater proportion of oxcarbazepine-treated patients experienced a >50% reduction from baseline in VAS score at the end of treatment compared with placebo (35.2% vs. 18.4%, respectively; p=0.0156; number needed to treat=6.0). Global assessment of therapeutic effect rating was improved in more oxcarbazepine patients than placebo patients (48% vs. 22%, respectively; p=0.0025). Patients on oxcarbazepine were awakened less frequently due to pain than patients on placebo. Most adverse events were mild to moderate in severity, transient, and in line with the known tolerability profile of oxcarbazepine. These observations suggest that oxcarbazepine monotherapy, pending additional trials, may be efficacious and may provide clinically meaningful pain relief in patients with neuropathic pain of diabetic origin.

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